There’s not much that’s cheaper to do in Colorado Springs than hiking! Here’s a list of some of the best hikes in Colorado Springs. There are many, many, many hiking trails in Colorado Springs, and this is nowhere near an exhaustive list – just the ones that readers have recommended or we’ve had experience with. I’ll keep adding to this list as you guys keep recommending them!
Well, you can pay for a waterfall, or you can hike several more for nothing (and a lot of us would say you get more for your money with the free ones!). Here’s the free ones:
Helen Hunt Falls/Silver Cascade Falls – this one’s perfect even if you don’t want to hike much. You can park basically at the foot of Helen Hunt Falls in Cheyenne Canon Park and take the short (rocky, slippery) staircase to the top of the falls. If you do want to hike, take the path that goes up, up, and up to Silver Cascade Falls, a much smaller but unique waterfall. The trail that goes up is well-maintained and is mostly “stairs” the whole way, so be prepared for a workout.
Green Mountain Falls – one of those hikes that our family intended to start and never got out of the car. You’ll need to park somewhere in the town of Green Mountain Falls and take a short hike on Hondo Avenue (pretty steep, that’s why we declined with three kids!) until you get to the actual Catamount Trailhead. Steve Garufi says the falls are right at the trailhead
St. Mary’s Falls – small waterfall about two miles off of the closed portion of Gold Camp Road. The National Park Services has more information about this waterfall and hike.
Dorothy Falls – gorgeous, peaceful hike that requires access to Glen Eyrie, the historical estate owned by the Navigators. Make sure you read the instructions about how to be allowed access for hiking. This hike crisscrosses the creek in Queen’s Canyon until you get to the falls. You can scramble up above the falls to the pools area (another thing that we couldn’t do with small children). Read about our hike to Dorothy Falls here.
Rainbow Falls – Steve Garufi calls this falls in Manitou Springs the “forgotten” waterfall – graffiti and littering have spoiled some of the experience. I’ve never been there, but Steve’s pictures look great! Directions and pictures here.
Other Colorado Springs Hikes
I wanted to categorize these further but wasn’t sure how!
St. Peter’s Dome – great hike a little ways up Gold Camp Road. Great views! Pretty kid-friendly until you get near the top, where there’s some loose rock. You can go to the *very* top of St. Peter’s Dome if you’re trusting enough to to use the well-weathered rope to get yourself up part of the large rock formation. More info on the St. Peter’s Dome trail.
Cheyenne Canon Park – many trails in this park – go here for more info. Angela said this about Cutler’s trail: “not too bad of a hike but near the top of the trail you can see Seven Falls for free”.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space – Beth said “similar to Garden of the Gods in rock formations, but more hike-oriented–a beautiful treasure”, and Heather said these trails are one of her family’s favorite hikes. Here’s more information on Red Rock Canyon Trails.
Castlewood Canyon – Heather said this state park is another one of her family’s favorite places to hike. You can find a trail map and more information from the park service. A daily park pass is $6.
Bear Creek Park and Nature Center – Erin’s a fan of this park! She said “Bear Creek Park is wonderful! Great learning center and wonderful trails!” You can find more about the park and trails here.
Garden of the Gods – it’s so famous, it probably didn’t need to be mentioned, but definitely belongs on this list! More information on the Garden of the Gods trails and other activities.
Pulpit Rock at Austin Bluffs Open Space – this is a trail our family tried and (shh!) turned around. If you choose the right trail, I don’t think it’s that difficult of a hike to get to the top of Pulpit Rock, but we started the hike at the Butler Court trailhead and while it wasn’t hard, we ran out of time and energy to help the kids actually get up to Pulpit Rock. Take a look at the maps, there are several places to start this trail.
Palmer Park – over 25 miles of trails right in the middle of town (plus a playground, ball fields, and more). More information, including easy, intermediate, and advanced trail maps here.
Ute Valley Park – don’t know much about this one other than what’s on the city’s information page about it, but there are hiking trails!
Other Area Hikes
Victor – Vicki said Victor has “a loop hike that is probably 1 – 2 miles long that passes the old gold mines that used to be a large part of Victor in the past. Besides being absolutely beautiful up there, the history is fascinating and there are flyers and information posted all around the hike. And it is free!” More info on trails in Victor here.
Eleven Mile Canyon at Lake George – five miles of hiking and biking in this park, and I’ve heard it’s great! More information on this state park (admission fees will apply).
If you want more hikes in Colorado Springs and in Colorado in general, you have to check out ColoradoGuy.com – I think Steve Garufi has hiked just about every trail imaginable in Colorado.
What are your favorite hikes? Which ones are kid-friendly and which ones are more advanced?